Sunday, November 10, 2019

Common backyard birds in Wyoming (lists, photos, ID)

I've put this resource together for you to answer the question: What birds are in my backyard in Wyoming? This article tells you what birds you can expect in your backyard and when they are most common. I also provide a photo and description section to help you with Wyoming bird identification of the most common birds native to Wyoming backyards.

The most common backyard birds throughout the year in the state of Wyoming are these:
  1. American Robin (37% frequency)
  2. Northern Flicker (22%)
  3. House Sparrow (20%)
  4. Eurasian Collared-Dove (20%)
These birds occur on more than 20% of eBird checklists for the state.


In this article
Lists of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming
Photos and ID of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming
Other birds you might see from your backyard in Wyoming
Comparison of the most common backyard birds in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Beyond your backyard


This page lists the most common backyard birds as determined by actual bird sightings reported to the citizen science birding program, eBird. These birds are ranked according to frequency--the percentage of all bird checklists on which a species occurs. Below I list common backyard birds in winter and summer.

Photos and identification are next. I tell a little bit about each species and how you might attract them to your yard.

Farther below I've also added a list of other common birds not typically found in backyards.

I conclude with a list comparing the birds of Cheyenne with the birds of the state as a whole.



List of the most common feeder birds and backyard birds in Wyoming


The top list on this page is the frequency of birds throughout the year. Many birds are migratory or otherwise vary in abundance between seasons. So the next two lists are the common birds ranked in winter and then in summer.

The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in winter (December to February) are these:
Eurasian Collared-Dove (33% frequency)
House Sparrow (30%)
House Finch (28%)
Black-capped Chickadee (22%)
Eurasian Starling (21%)
American Crow (21%)
Northern Flicker (20%)

The most common backyard birds in Wyoming in summer (June to July) are these:
American Robin (48% frequency)
Northern Flicker (22%)

How do birds differ between winter and summer?

Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Sparrows are more common in winter.

American Robins are more common in summer.



Photos and ID of the most common backyard birds in Wyoming


Photo of American Robin
American Robin
Photo by Greg Gillson

1. American Robin (37%)

Turdus migratorius
This familiar bird is a resident in the northern half of the United States and a winter visitor in the southern half.

Identification: This is a key species for comparing with an unknown bird. Size: 10 inches long from bill tip to tail tip. About the same size as a Blue Jay or one of the Scrub-Jays. Larger than Red-winged Blackbird. Smaller than a Mourning Dove. Shape: Very plump with a fairly long tail. Bill: Straight and fairly slender, curved at the tip. Color: Gray-brown upperparts, rusty orange breast.

Habitat, range & behavior: Open woodlands, farmlands, urban parks and lawns. Migratory, breeds north across Alaska and Canada. Resident in most of the United States (lower 48). Winters in the United States, Mexico, to central America. Hops on your lawn turning head this way and that looking for food. Their caroling song is one of the early signs of spring in the north.

Food and feeder preference: Worms and other invertebrates in the lawn. May eat fruit from a tray feeder or the ground. Eat small berries from trees and bushes.

Photo of Northern Flicker on a branch
Northern Flicker
Photo by Greg Gillson

2. Northern Flicker (22%)

Colaptes auratus
Of all the bird identification questions I get asked, this common larger backyard bird is the bird most people ask about. It doesn't occur to those unfamiliar with it that this could be a woodpecker.

Identification: Size: About the size of a Mourning Dove. Larger than a robin. Shape: Stocky with short legs, short tail, big head. Bill: As long as head, thin, slightly curved. Color: Back is brown with black bars. Under parts pinkish with black spots. Undersides of black wing and tail feathers are bright salmon red (West) or yellow (East). Head gray (West) or brown (East) and males with red (West) or black (East) whisker marks and nape marks (East). Black crescent across chest. White rump seen in flight.

Habitat, range & behavior: Found in woodland edges and forests. Year-round resident from extreme southern Canada, across all of the lower-48 states and in the mountains of Mexico and Middle America. In summer breeds northward well into Canada and Alaska. Frequently noted hopping on ground pecking in the ground for insects. In late spring, males proclaim their territory by rapid pounding on a hollow tree branch, though the ringing of metal downspouts at dawn is louder and carries much farther, to the exasperation of anyone trying to sleep inside!

Food and feeder preference: Ants and beetles are their primary foods. Will eat black oil sunflower seeds and are attracted to suet.

Photo of House Sparrow on feeder with sunflower seed
House Sparrow
Photo by Greg Gillson

3. House Sparrow (20%)

Passer domesticus
Like the starling, this is another bird introduced from Europe in the 1800's. This sparrow is commonly found in cities and farmlands. It is considered a pest in most areas where it has been introduced.

Identification: Size: The size of a House Finch or Dark-eyed Junco. Shape: Chunkier than native North American sparrows with large head, barrel chest, short neck, medium tail, short legs. Bill: Short, conical. Color: Males are brown and gray with a black mask. Females lack the black and are tan and brown with a pale line back from the eye.

Habitat, range & behavior: Cities and farms. Range in North American from southern Canada through Central America. In summer northward through Canada to southern Alaska. Originated in Middle East and spread to most of Europe and Asia. Introduced in South America, Africa, Australia--nearly anywhere there are people and cities. They tend to be messy... and have a good appetite, and may occur in large noisy chirping flocks. They are aggressive toward other feeder birds.

Food and feeder preference: They eat grain, seed, and insects. To discourage them from your hopper and tray feeders do not feed birds human food scraps. They have a bit of difficulty eating from tube feeders.

Photo of Eurasian Collared-Dove on a metal pole
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Photo by Greg Gillson

4. Eurasian Collared-Dove (20%)

Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Collared-Doves are a rather new addition to the North American avifauna. The spread from introductions in the Bahamas to Florida in the 1980's and continue to spread across the continent in a general northwestern direction. They build up a large local population over a couple of years then fly hundreds of miles to set up new outposts, gradually backfilling.

Identification: Size: Larger than Mourning Doves. Shape: Stocky dove with a full square tail. Bill: Small and rather slender. Color: Cream colored with darker primaries. The underside of the base of the tail is blackish with a wide whitish tip. It has a black collar on the hind-neck.

Habitat, range & behavior: Found in residential neighborhoods and farmlands. Native to Eurasia. In North America has expanded explosively in past 3 decades. Florida to northern Mexico and north to southern Canada. Not yet common in the Northeastern United States. Found on city power lines, poles, adjacent conifers. Social. Noisy, making "coo-coo cook" song and grating rasping call "ghaaaaa."

Food and feeder preference: They eat primarily seeds and grains. Since the are so large they prefer to eat on large platform feeders or on the ground under feeders.



How do birds survive the cold winters in Wyoming? This video tells you and shows some common winter birds:


Other common birds you might see from your backyard in Wyoming


The following lists contain additional common birds you might see flying over your yard or in a nearby neighborhood. There are also several less common backyard birds in these lists that don't appear in the lists above.

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in winter (December to February):
Common Raven (25% frequency)
Black-billed Magpie (25%)
Mallard (20%)

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in summer (June to July):
Common Raven (26% frequency)
Red-winged Blackbird (23%)
Yellow Warbler (22%)

Watch for these additional common Wyoming birds in spring (April to May):
Canada Goose (43% frequency)
Red-winged Blackbird (41%)
Mallard (40%)
Western Meadowlark (30%)
Common Raven (23%)
Mourning Dove (22%)
Common Grackle (22%)
Killdeer (20%)



Comparison of the most common backyard birds in Cheyenne, Wyoming


Photo of House Finch on tree top
House Finch is a common backyard bird in Cheyenne
Photo by Greg Gillson
The following list uses eBird data to compare the birds of Cheyenne with the birds of the state as a whole. Cheyenne is in Laramie County. I will use the data for Laramie County to represent the birds in the Cheyenne area.

Here are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Cheyenne:
Eurasian Collared-Dove (42% frequency)
House Finch (38%)
American Robin (37%)
House Sparrow (36%)
American Crow (28%)
Mourning Dove (24%)
Northern Flicker (22%)
European Starling (22%)
Common Grackle (20%)

Eurasian Collared-Doves, House Finches, House Sparrows are more common in Cheyenne than in the state as a whole.



Beyond your backyard


To create this page on the backyard birds in Wyoming I used some of the advanced features of eBird.

You can learn more about what birds are in your own backyard using some easy and helpful features of eBird. Rare birds. Common birds. Winter birds, spring birds, summer birds, and fall birds. In fact, you can determine the abundance of all birds likely in your area for every week of the year! You can also see photos of the birds from your own area.

eBird also has numerous photos and voice recordings of the birds. Thus, you can see pictures of all the variation in each species. And you can listen to recordings of bird songs and calls.

Not all birds can be found in backyards. You may find that you wish to see birds in other places. If so, you'll want to check this out.

First, I'm sending you to eBird (www.ebird.org). Please don't forget me! Bookmark this page to come back.

Explore Regions for birds in your own county


From the eBird home page, select the tab for Explore (https://ebird.org/explore). The Explore page offers several options. Please use the Explore Regions form for now. Start entering your county name into the form. Select your county and state from the drop-down list.

Now your County page pops up.

There are 23 counties in Wyoming. There are bird lists for each county. The county with the most birds recorded is Albany County with 353 species. The county with the least birds recorded is Niobrara County with 163 species.

From this County page there are 3 selections that I want to share with you. They are Printable Checklist, Illustrated Checklist, and Hotspots.

1. Printable Checklist


The Printable Checklist is exactly what it sounds like. It is a basic bird checklist of all birds with eBird records in the county, state, or country you choose. It is a professional looking checklist, too. You can print it double-sided on card stock for a quite nice and durable bird checklist.

Bird checklists are useful to keep track of birds in your backyard as you identify them. Or, you may want to print a new list for each time you take a bird watching outing.

But this type of list doesn't help you figure out if a bird in your backyard is common or rare. For that, you need the next type of checklist.

2. Bar Charts


Bar charts combine the species list with abundance over time. The thickness of the line (bar) indicates how frequently a bird is seen. A thicker bar indicates a common bird. A thin line indicates a rare bird. No bars are shown when the birds are absent or not recorded.

In the case of the eBird bar charts, there is a space for every week of the year. There is room for 52 lines, or bars, in each chart. This way, you can tell, week by week, how common birds are in your state, even in each county.

One feature that I like on the county page is the Illustrated Checklist. It is a bar chart for the county. But it also includes photos of birds that have been taken in the county. That way, for unusual birds, I can see the plumage. Are most of the records for breeding males or perhaps dull-looking immatures? That will let me know exactly what I am looking for when I am out in the field. Of course, I always like to add photos to the Illustrated Checklist if any are missing. But that is easier to do with the following list.

3. Hotspots


Hotspots are public bird watching areas with their own species checklists and bar charts. Sometimes these are very famous birding sites with thousands of bird watchers visiting per year. Other hotspots are very rarely visited by birders. These will give you an idea of what other birds (not just backyard birds) may be found near you.

There are hundreds of hotspots for every state. Each county is likely to have numerous hotspots, too. There is a list of the top 100 hotspots in each state. To see all of them you can go to the map.

You may also like my eBird tutorial with illustrations.

Once you start viewing your backyard birds in Wyoming, you may find that you want to look for more types of birds than just backyard birds. Then you're on your way to exploring the wildlife in a larger world. There are birds everywhere you go. Different ones in every location. In fact, 10,000 of them. That's enough for several lifetimes of joy just to see them once!

All this because you were curious as to what birds were in your backyard!



Next: Backyard birds of Alabama

You may be interested: Bird books for each individual state in the US

Related: 34 of the most common birds in the United States (with photos)




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